Game of Thrones S6E8 “No One”
After a fair bit of table setting, Game of Thrones launches some story lines to their conclusions in “No One”. Some were very short such as Sandor’s return and establishing a reason to bring him back, and Jaime’s siege at Riverrun, while others have been a long time in the making, such as Arya’s story line in Braavos, which caps out at seventeen episodes. The problem is, not all conclusions are good ones. Particularly with Jaime and Arya’s story lines, which both end on an anticlimactic note and in the case of Arya, it also ends in just a plain old confusing fashion. “No One” did so some good things though and I would be inclined to actually give it a very good grade if not for these unsatisfying conclusions. While Jaime and Arya reach anticlimactic endings, Sandor finds new purpose, Meereen finds itself under attack, and Cersei loses her ace in the hole. And now we begin.
We’ll start it off with a check on Meereen, which appears to be doing splendidly. Varys is departing for Westeros, in pursuit of allies for Dany and as he walks to the docks with Tyrion, he has to admit that Tyrion’s pact with the Red Priestesses seems to be working, even though he’s not a fan of working with fanatics. The two friends share their goodbyes, leaving Tyrion to basically run the show. After seeing Varys off, he heads back to the great pyramid and drinks in celebration of the way the city is trending upwards again. His mission to humanize Grey Worm and Missandei takes a turn for the better here as he manages to get the both of them to drink wine with him and even gets them to tell jokes. While those jokes are going to need a lot of work to be funny, it’s great to see these two who have basically been slaves all their lives, finally become more human. The world’s worst comedy hour comes to an abrupt end though when they hear a loud noise from outside. To their shock, the trio see that the Slave Masters of Yunkai, Astapor, and Volantis have brought their navies and are attacking the city. Much as Grey Worm and Missandei feared, the masters played Tyrion. Grey Worm prepares the Unsullied to guard the pyramid when all of a sudden someone appears on the balcony. To the surprise of absolutely no one, our mystery person is Daenerys. Building that up to a dramatic moment kind of fell flat because anyone who’s ever watched television before knew that Dany was going to be here. In any case, she’s come just in time and brought Drogon with her. Good thing Dany has three fire breathing dragons at her disposal when the enemy consists of people on large wooden ships. Dany and friends should be able to take care of this threat easily.
King’s Landing is next where Cersei goes from having the upper hand, to losing it, to maybe secretly regaining it. Cersei continues her house arrest in the Red Keep when Lancel and a group of the faith militant confront her and tell her that the High Sparrow wishes to see her in the Great Sept of Baelor. Cersei smugly says no, citing her house arrest by the High Sparrow. Lancel insists that this is not a request and if she doesn’t come out of her free will, things will get violent. Cersei’s got the Mountain though, so she picks violence. One of the faith militant is dumb enough to attack the Mountain and he pays for it with his life. Lancel and the rest of the group are too scared to follow through on their threat and they leave. The perks of having The Mountain.
Later on, Cersei ventures to the throne room where a large group of people have gathered, waiting on an announcement. This announcement is very bad news for Cersei, Tommen has decided to ban trial by combat. The Mountain is now out of the question and the “evidence” required to render a guilty verdict in her upcoming trial will probably be very easily made. Cersei keeps a stern look but you just know she’s devastated. Her ace in the hole has been negated and now she likely faces death, or a very brutal punishment at the very least, and all from the order of her own son. What’s Cersei to do now? I’ll talk about it in other thoughts but Qyburn investigated something for Cersei that turned out to be much more than just a rumor. Cersei may be down now, but if this rumor is what I think it is, she might not be down much longer.
Braavos is next and it’s home to our featured (but not necessarily good) story line. We start with the play once again, but Lady Crane has taken Arya’s advice and put some anger into her character. Arya looks like she knows what she’s talking about because the change looks very well received. Lady Crane heads backstage after her part is done and stumbles upon Arya in the dressing room, very badly injured. She takes Arya to her apartment and sews up her wounds and the two talk about what to do next. Lady Crane tells her that the actress who wanted her dead has been fired and offers the job to Arya, who she thinks would fit in well. Arya declines out of fear for Lady Crane’s safety, saying she won’t be safe while “no one” is looking for her. Lady Crane offers Arya milk of the poppy which she reluctantly takes since sleep is the only way she’s going to get any better.
The next day, the Waif arrives at Lady Crane’s apartment and brutally kills her. Arya wakes up shortly thereafter and is stunned to see a dead Lady Crane. The Waif then reveals herself and places the blame on Arya, saying Lady Crane could have died painlessly if she just did her job. Having screwed over the many faced god, Arya now has to pay the price of her own life. Arya must have magic recovery time because this starts a chase that I just have to throw a penalty flag all over. Arya jumps out of Lady Crane’s second story window and easily gets up from the fall and starts running. Arya swerves into and out of buildings and manages to keep ahead of the Waif the whole time which is just too hard to believe considering the Waif has been shown to be faster and stronger than Arya even when Arya was fully healthy. The chase slows down when Arya jumps onto a large staircase and her wound reopens. A now bloodied Arya baits the Waif into her hideout by leaving blood marks to guide her. The Waif tracks her down to the room where an injured Arya is waiting for her. Arya takes out Needle and turns the candle off, using her recent blind training as an advantage.
In the House of Black and White, Jaqen curiously stumbles upon a trail of blood on the ground and follows it to the Hall of Faces where he sees the Waif’s face added to the hall, and it even has her eyes gouged out. He turns around and sees Arya who now holds him at sword point. Arya accuses him of sending the Waif to kill her, which he admits he did. He tries to turn things around by saying that Arya has finally become no one. Arya corrects him and says she’s Arya Stark of Winterfell and she’s going home. Jaqen gives her a smirk and allows her to leave. For the sake of not derailing the review, I’m going to save my plentiful complaints with these scenes until other thoughts. Let’s move on.
In the Riverlands, Sandor begins and ends his revenge tour, and gets a long term goal. The revenge tour is first and he quickly tracks down the group responsible for the massacre of his village. Back to his Hound ways, Sandor makes quick work of them all and gives the last one a painful death when he refuses to tell them where the three leaders are. Sandor pushes on and sees the trio of men he was looking for, and they’re about to be hanged. Hanging them are familiar faces in Beric Dondarrion and Thoros from the Brotherhood Without Banners. Turns out the Brotherhood didn’t turn bad, just those guys did and now they’re being hanged for what they did to the village. Sandor explains himself and Beric allows him to kill two of them for his pain. Sandor then joins the Brotherhood for lunch by a creek where Beric offers him a spot in the group. Beric tells Sandor that they’re heading north to face some “cold winds”, which has got to be white walkers. Sandor doesn’t explicitly join the group, but I can’t really see a situation here where he decided not to join. Sandor may not be able to run away from his violent ways, but he can use them in a positive manner and that’s exactly what the Brotherhood is providing him with.
Just outside of Riverrun, Brienne and Pod have basically completed their journey but won’t be making it all the way as Lannister guards approach them. Brienne reveals her name and asks to meet with Jaime. The meeting is arranged and we get our Jaime and Brienne reunion, but it’s under stressful conditions. Brienne tells Jaime that she came to get the Blackfish to come north and help Sansa but Jaime finds himself in a difficult position because he can’t really help Sansa since she’s still a suspect in Joffrey’s murder (Anyone think they’ll ever find out it was Olena and Littlefinger?), he is currently besieging Riverrun, and the Blackfish refuses to leave anyway. Brienne proposes that Jaime allow her to enter Riverrun and try to convince the Blackfish to join Sansa up north. If successful, Jaime will allow the Tully forces safe passage north. It’s a win-win considering Brienne gets what she came for and so does Jaime, as that would be a fast end to the problem. Jaime doubts Brienne’s ability to convince the stubborn Blackfish to agree to it, but allows her to give it a shot. Jaime gives her till nightfall while Brienne warns her that if she fails and is still there at nightfall, honor will compel her to fight against him. Jaime is fully aware of this and says he hopes it doesn’t come down to that. Before leaving, Brienne tries to return Oathkeeper to Jaime, citing that he gave it to her for a purpose (find the Stark girls) and she has completed that purpose. While honored, Jaime declines, saying Oathkeeper will always be Brienne’s sword. Brienne then leaves the tent and heads for the castle.
Jaime respects Brienne a great deal, but doesn’t believe that she’s going to able to convince the Blackfish to leave (he’s right) so he prepares a different solution. Jaime visits Edmure Tully’s tent and initially tries to play nice with him but is met with the cold reception that he so often gets from people. Ever since the fateful day Jaime earned the Kingslayer nickname, he’s hated it, and looked away and bottled up his emotions when someone brought it up (which happens very often). It’s part of what makes this scene so fascinating. Jaime is trying to be a better person now, but everyone’s misguided view of his past messes things up. Instead of ignoring it, he uses it to his advantage here. Edmure isn’t buying that Jaime is going to play fair and square and with honor, so Jaime plays up to who Edmure thinks he is, and goes full on Kingslayer. Jaime threatens to launch Edmure’s baby son into the walls of Riverrun if he doesn’t cooperate with his plan, and it works wonderfully. Edmure decides to listen to Jaime and Jaime gets what he wants (a quick peaceful ending) by pretending he’s more than willing to do the opposite.
Edmure walks to the drawbridge of Riverrun and requests to be allowed in. The guards on duty don’t really have a choice here considering Edmure is the rightful lord of Riverrun so they let him in, much to the Blackfish’s discontent. The Blackfish knows that Edmure is only here because he agreed to play along with what Jaime wants and he’s one hundred percent correct. Edmure orders his men to lay down their weapons and to open the bridge and yield the castle to the Lannister and Frey armies. He also orders the Blackfish be arrested and brought to Jaime. The Blackfish is a bit preoccupied at the moment though as he’s sneaking Brienne and Pod out of the castle by boat. Brienne makes one last ditch effort to get the Blackfish to come with them but he’s content to die by fighting for his home. He wishes them luck and heads back up the castle to meet his fate and go down swinging. The plan works just as Jaime wanted as no one died. Well the Blackfish did and Jaime is disappointed to hear of it when he’s told. Up on the ramparts, Jaime spots a boat headed down the river and clearly sees that it’s Podrick and Brienne. Jaime would be fully within his rights here to track them down but you know he’s not going to do that. Jaime and Brienne are on opposite sides here but they share far too much respect for each other. Jaime instead gives Brienne a wave and Brienne returns the favor, leaving the both of them wondering if they’ll ever see each other again. And so ends the anticlimactic siege of Riverrun.
You really have to wonder what the point of Riverrun was at all. Jaime “won” and Brienne “lost” but at the end of the day, it just seems like the trip to Riverrun was busy work for the both of them. And to hype up the Blackfish and give him cool quotes like “As long as I stand, the war is not over” only to kill him off screen seems pretty lame. As for positives of the trip, we have the much mentioned Brienne and Jaime reunion and the not previously mentioned Pod and Bronn reunion. Although the latter of those reunions just made me wish there was a full reunion with Tyrion there.
I think the show never really knew what to do with the House of Black and White. How Arya could pass her test and become “no one” by rejecting her first test on account of personally growing attached to the target (which is a huge no go for the faceless men) and then killing a fellow apprentice instead just makes no sense at all. Jaqen looked pretty happy that Arya won so you have to wonder why he’d ever let Arya be in such grave danger in the first place. And then there’s the question what did Arya actually learn? These are the faceless men, so did she learn how to use faces, will she be able to do that on her own in Westeros? Who knows man? As for positives, just one thing comes to mind, Arya slicing the candle out with Needle looked pretty cool, I have to admit that.
Cersei kind of dug her own grave by “choosing violence”. If she just went to the High Sparrow, he was probably just going to tell her that her trial was soon. But using the Mountain to send a message backfired because Lancel probably told the High Sparrow that there’s no way any human can beat the Mountain in a fight. At that point, the High Sparrow probably told Tommen that he has to ban trial by combat. As for “that rumor”. The Mad King “allegedly” stuck wildfire underneath the entire city of King’s Landing. If that’s the rumor that Qyburn confirmed is true, Cersei has a nuclear option available.
Some notes on the Meereen Small Council comedy hour. Was Grey Worm’s joke that Missandei’s joke was the worst he ever heard, or was it they actually believed he didn’t know what a joke is? And Tyrion’s joke about the honeycomb and the jackass is a call back. He made that joke at the Eyrie and just like in this episode, he got cut off before he could deliver the punchline. Will we ever get to hear the joke in its entirety?
The Tyrells are a no show this episode but Loras’ trial is mentioned to be taking place the same date as Cersei’s which is pretty soon. You have to wonder how much good will Margaery has gotten from the High Sparrow through this ruse of hers and if it’ll help Loras get off easier.
Sandor had so many great lines that we’re just going to give him “quotes of the day”. Lines such as “You’re shit at dying”, “He’s not getting old”, and “I prefer chicken” made this a very easy call.
“No One” gets dragged down by a confusing and anticlimactic ending to Arya’s story in Braavos in what otherwise could have been a great episode.